Zach Johnson Wins British Open in Playoff

on July 21, 2015
Zach Johnson British Open playoff

Zach Johnson fired a 66 on the final day of play, then won a three-way playoff to win the 2015 British Open title. (Image: Golfweek.com)

The British Open took an extra day to finish, then came down to the final hole for several golfers, and even needed a four-hole playoff to finally determine a winner.

But after all of the trials and tribulations were completed, it was American golfer Zach Johnson who walked away with the Claret Jug and his second career major championship.

Johnson emerged victorious following a playoff against Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman, earning the 39-year-old his first ever victory at The Open after having previously won The Masters in 2007.

It was a somewhat surprising ending to a wild tournament, one that took an extra day to complete after inclement weather quickly stopped play on Saturday.

Johnson Was Longshot to Win Title

Because of his previous success in a major, Johnson wasn’t exactly a stunning victor on Monday.

But at the same time, he wasn’t on the radar for most golf fans either: he came into the tournament as an 80-1 shot to win the tournament, putting him squarely in the middle of the pack and far behind the favorites.

Of the three men who made the playoff after tying at 15-under par following four rounds of play, only Oosthuizen was a popular pre-tournament pick to win the tournament, coming in at 22-1 odds.

Leishman was given very little chance at 150-1, but he and Johnson both shot 66 on the final day to come from behind and reach the playoff.

Those three finished just ahead of Jordan Spieth, who was looking to capture his third major of the year and threaten to win a calendar year Grand Slam.

Spieth, who already held Masters and US Open titles this year, finished at 14-under after bogeying the 17th hole and parring the 18th, ending his chances to reach a playoff or even win the tournament outright.

Spieth Falls Just Short of Third Consecutive Major

Spieth had entered the tournament as a 5-1 favorite, far ahead of other favorites like Dustin Johnson (11-1) and Rickie Fowler (16-1).

Rory McIlroy would also have been a favorite to win, but was forced to sit this tournament out after rupturing a ligament in his ankle while playing soccer.

While the final day of play at The Open featured plenty of drama, there was the potential for an even bigger story to emerge.

After three days of play, a 22-year-old amateur golfer from Ireland named Paul Dunne shared the lead in at the tournament, threatening to become the first non-professional to win the tournament since 1930, when the legendary Bobby Jones accomplished the feat. 

Dunne came into the tournament with 1500-1 odds, setting up a Cinderella story that would go down in history if he could come up big on the final day of play.

But it was not to be: Dunne shot a 78 on Monday, leading him far back in a tie for 30th place in the final standings.

Spieth, McIlroy Favorites for PGA Championship

There is now just one more major to play this year: the PGA Championship, which will take place in mid-August.

Not surprisingly, Jordan Spieth is one again the favorite, with most sportsbooks offering him at odds of around 5-1, similar to the price he was given before The Open.

Rory McIlroy is nearly a co-favorite at 13-2 odds, while Dustin Johnson (12-1), Adam Scott (18-1) and Jason Day (20-1) are also among the top picks to win the tournament.

Zach Johnson’s odds have improved following his win this weekend, but he’s still seen as something of a longshot at 50-1.